FORMER England youth striker Chuba Akpom has pledged his international future to Nigeria by signing a switch agreement with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) that will enable the association commence his changeover with Fifa.
Akpom, 23, who came through the Arsenal youth ranks, now plays for Paok in Greece, is eligible to play for the Super Eagles as he holds dual-nationality and has not represented England at senior level. In March 2017, he trained with the Nigeria senior side at Barnet alongside then Chelsea defender Ola Aina and now hopes to line up with his life-long friend Alex Iwobi for the Eagles.
He added: “I’ve only just recently switched my allegiance, so I’ve signed the documents and hopefully in the next few weeks it will be approved to enable me play for Nigeria. I’ve been wanting to do that for many years now but not many people know this, it’s just been a matter of sorting it out, which is now in a process and I’m looking forward to it.
“It was a personal decision as I’m Nigerian and my whole family feel very Nigerian and it will be nice to represent Nigeria. It will also be nice to link up with Alex again and play for the national team as we started playing when we was younger together and to make that step to play for the national team together will be amazing.”
Akpom added that he always wanted to play for Nigeria despite playing at every age grade for England. London-born Akpom, who joined Arsenal at the age of six and spent time on loan with Brentford, Coventry, Nottingham Forest, Hull and Brighton, scored 18 goals in 41 youth caps for England from under-16 to under-21 level.
“Although I have played in all the youth groups for England, I have always known I wanted to play for Nigeria and I am ready and only waiting for the call up. My agents have been in talks with the coaches and federation, so maybe in a few months I would get an invite as I have signed off my allegiance.”
“It’s always good to play where you’re loved. If you play for England you may only play a few games or caps and then you’re dropped for the next striker, who is hot,” Akpom added.
Last season, he provided six goals and four assists as Paok went unbeaten to seal the 2018/19 Greek title as he also scored the winning goal in the FA Cup final against AEK Athens to complete a dream double. Now established in Greece and with three goals in eight matches this season, Akpom plays alongside Liverpool’s loanee Sheyi Ojo, who also said that he would love to represent Nigeria if they approach him.